Wednesday, January 03, 2007
Songwriter Dennis Linde died on December 22, of lung cancer. Linde wrote for country music artists, but many of his songs had a sense of rhythm and energy that was rooted in rockabilly and pop music. Linde, based in Nashville, first came to prominence in 1972, when Elvis Presley recorded his song, "Burning Love," which was, of course, a big hit (and, in my opinion, the best of the later Presley performances.)
Linde stuck around Nashville and had many hits for country artists through the years, enough of them to get himself elected to the Nashville Writers Hall of Fame. But his biggest claim to fame probably came in 2000, when the Dixie Chicks had a huge hit with his witty "Goodbye, Earl."
My appreciation for Linde came about as a result of a song on his 1973 solo album on Elektra Records, called "Hello, I Am Your Heart." It's always been one of my "really obscure but that only makes it better" pop gems. In fact, if I could have found a digital version of it, I would have posted it as a Great Lost Pop Masterpiece. But the album has been out of print for years, and no one ever saw fit to issue it in CD form. It has been covered a couple of times. There is a truly atrocious version by Manfred Mann, and Sara Hickman covered it on the Elektra 40th anniversary compilation from the '90's. The best version I can find is by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, from their 1994 "Acoustic" album, but even that doesn't do the original justice, having neither it's balls nor its pop sensibility.
Nitty Gritty Dirt Band - Hello, I Am Your Heart
Jud Newcomb, a singer/songwriter and guitar player from Austin, Texas will be at FreeBird Books, 123 Columbia Street, in Brooklyn, on Saturday, January 6, at 7:00 PM.
Jud (or Scrappy, as he is known) is an ace guitar player who has been winning "Best Guitar Player in Austin" awards since he was a teenager. He was one of the leaders of the Loose Diamonds in the '90's, and also backed up the singer Toni Price for years. He's played with everyone is Austin, and has produced albums for, among others, Beaver Nelson and Mike Hall. He currently plays with Ian MacLagan, the Resentments, Jon Dee Graham and a lot of others he can't remember without checking his datebook.
Scrappy is also a gifted (and probably under-appreciated) songwriter and singer, who uses his encyclopedic, Dylan-like knowledge and love of country, blues, gospel and rock to create beautifully constructed songs, which he sings and plays with restraint and elegance. And most importantly, his songs swing with the grace of Willie Nelson and the swagger of the Stones.
Scrappy is the embodiment of all that is great about Austin and its music.
FreeBird Books and Goods is a wonderful bookstore in "West Carroll Gardens" that is definitely worth a visit any time.
Jud Newcomb - I Think of You
Jud Newcomb - New Location
"I Think of You" is from Jud's latest album, "Byzantine," and is available from Freedom Records. "New Location" is from "Djakarta," which may be out of print. Check that with Scrappy.